Challenge: doubles/chocolate.

The Taste of Victory
by Cael

Shishido scowled in frustration at the tiny rivulets of water running down the window, standing close enough that his breath fogged the cool glass in lopsided circles. His hands were clenched in fists behind his back so that he wouldn't have the urge to press his fingtertips to the surface and leave prints.

"Glaring at it isn't going to make the rain go away, Shishido-senpai," Ohtori teased softly, coming into the room behind him.

Shishido let his gaze flick to his partner's reflection. The amused smile curling Ohtori's lips made the crease between his brows deepen and he went back to watching the raindrops bounce in puddles along the sidewalk, imagining them as tiny tennis balls falling from the heavens. It almost made him smirk. Almost.

He heard Ohtori sigh, a gentle exhalation of air nearly drowned out by the sound of drumming rain on the roof, and watched the taller boy's reflection grow in the window as Ohtori came up to stand beside him.


Shishido looked down at the steaming mug being offered to him.

"Hot chocolate?" he asked curiously, taking it and letting the heat seep from the pottery into his hands. It felt good.

"Mm," Ohtori confirmed, nodding happily. "It's perfect for days like this."

Shishido frowned. "We should be playing a match right now," he complained.

Ohtori sipped his own hot chocolate and stared out at the gray world beyond the glass, contemplating. "That's true," he admitted finally, "but they'll reschedule the match."

Shishido wanted to protest that it wouldn't be the same, that they were ready now and that they'd worked so hard to get where they were today, but the words died on his lips when Ohtori turned to smile sweetly at him. How could he argue with someone who looked upon small inconveniences like this one as blessings in disguise? His shoulders sagged and he suddenly felt deflated.

"We'll be ready to face them the next time, Shishido-senpai," Ohtori murmured, determination coloring his voice as he unconsciously echoed Shishido's thoughts.

Shishido grinned then, the first time that afternoon since getting the news that the match was canceled and that they shouldn't bother going to the courts because Atobe wouldn't be there. As if the diva would bother getting his precious hair wet when he didn't have to.

"And we'll win," Shishido agreed.

Ohtori's face lit up like a summer's day and he nodded. "Yes!"

Shishido nodded once and then turned his eyes back to watching the rain dribble down the window glass, no longer seeing the rivulets as bars of a cage. He took a drink of his hot chocolate and enjoyed how the sweet liquid warmed him, how the flavor lingered on his tongue even after he'd swallowed. It was sort of like victory really, a similar type of sensation, and his lips curled into a smile not unlike the one Ohtori had worn earlier. Somehow his partner had known all along.

The End

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